When Garrett Page stepped up to begin his approach in the 10th frame Thursday, he knew what needed to be done.
“I had to get two strikes,” the Centennial junior said. “That was the biggest pressure for me.”
On his final roll, Page hit the pocket for his third consecutive strike to top Tech’s Dallas Leong 199-192 in the final of the MVP Tournament at The Orleans.
“This is amazing,” said Page, who helped the Bulldogs win the Division I state title Feb. 1. “I personally thought I was going to lose the last game, but it was fun.”
Silverado’s Michelle Matsumoto defeated Bonanza’s Ashlee McKenna 251-229 in the girls final.
The event showcased the top 146 bowlers — 74 boys and 72 girls — from 33 area high schools. A four-game scratch qualifier whittled the field down to five boys and five girls to compete in a stepladder finals format. The winners were awarded $4,000 in scholarships, with both the sixth-place bowlers and the two non-finalists with the highest individual games also earning awards.
Page rolled a 996 in the qualifying round to earn the top seed. He overcame a tough-luck split in the fifth frame of the final to mark his final five frames.
“You have to have a short memory in bowling,” said Page, who claimed the $750 prize. “This scholarship is going to be very helpful for me. It’s college. This pays for a couple of classes.”
Leong, the fifth seed, won three consecutive head-to-head games to reach the title game.
On the girls side, Matsumoto rolled nine strikes en route to the top spot. The sophomore, who helped the Skyhawks capture the state title this year, was stunned by her performance.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “It’s still a little mind-boggling and shocking. I can’t really comprehend it.
It means a lot to me. I wasn’t really expecting it. I was hoping for maybe fifth place. First is just really amazing.”
After posting an 857 series in the qualifier, Matsumoto outlasted Gabrielle Turner of Palo Verde in a two-frame roll-off to meet McKenna in the final. Matsumoto said the pressures of performing well in an individual setting upstaged the anxieties of the state tournament.
“This means a little more because I did it on my own,” she said. “I was just so scared during the whole thing. It was nerve-racking. There were a lot of people. It puts a lot of pressure on you knowing it’s just one-on-one.”
Basic’s Joshua Reill and Cimarron-Memorial’s Jenna Graydon each placed sixth in qualifiers and Sierra Vista’s Russell Reyes (248) and Eldorado’s Shyanne Dase (244) posted the highest scores of the non-qualifiers.